- Hard Work to the Last Breath Commentary by Adil Salahi It is often said that the prosperity of nations cannot come about without an attitude, which encouragesMessage 1 of 1 , Sep 2, 2004View Source
Commentary by Adil Salahi
It is often said that the prosperity of nations cannot come about without an attitude, which encourages hard work throughout the community. While this is true, especially in a period of construction, or even a period of re-construction after a natural calamity or a devastating war, it remains important in times of peace and prosperity, in order to ensure that the benefits are not short lived or limited to a particular generation. No doctrine, which has managed to raise a certain people to the state of nationhood, has ever failed to emphasize the need for hard work on the part of the individual and the community. Needless to say, the emphasis must be placed in the first instance on the individual, because the work of the community is the total sum of the contribution of its members.
We have always said that Islam is the system, which God has devised for human life. In other words, it is a complete system which regulates all aspects of life in the light of its basic principle of believing in the Oneness of God and the message of the last Prophet, Muhammad, peace be on him. It is only natural, therefore, to expect that Islam stresses the importance of hard work.
But it is more in the nature of Islam to place particular emphasis on hard work, since it is only through good actions that a person attains salvation in the Hereafter. A Muslim who is conscious of the requirements of his faith has the best motivation to do well in this life. When we remember that Islam links actions, which are purely concerned with man�s life and needs in this world to what is purely religious and dedicated to the achievement of happiness in the life to come, we can appreciate the strength of his motivation.
Even when human beings go about earning their livelihood, they can hope to be rewarded for their efforts in the Hereafter. What they have to do is to steer away from what is forbidden and to link their immediate purpose to their wider one of earning God�s pleasure. Once the Prophet�s companions saw a man apparently going to do his daily job. They thought that his effort is much lower than that of a person who strives to serve God�s cause. The Prophet, peace be upon him, pointed out to them that if the man had parents to support, or a family to look after, then that particular effort of his serves God�s cause. Moreover, even if he has only himself to feed, his effort serves God�s cause, should he seek by his work to keep himself away from sin.
The idea of effort and reward is central to Islamic thinking. Every action can earn reward from God if it is intended for the right purpose. Since it is the amount of reward a person earns in this life, which will ensure his destiny in the Hereafter, then every thing that may increase his reward is very appealing to a Muslim.
The Prophet, peace be upon him, was always keen to point out what action or attitude could earn reward in order to encourage his companions to do it. He often emphasized the importance of certain types of work by pointing out that they were bound to earn reward. Look, by way of example, at the following Hadith in which Anas ibn Malik quotes the Prophet, peace be upon him. �If the Hour [of Doom] is highly imminent and any one of you has a young date tree in his hand, and he can manage to plant it before the Hour strikes, then he should do so.� [Related by Al-Bukhari and Ahmad]. Another version of this Hadith makes its ending clause as follows: �Then he should do so, for he will be rewarded for that.�
What is particularly significant here is not merely the fact that a purely worldly action is given a heavenly reward, but the action itself is of no particular use either to the person who does it or to any one else. The young tree which the Prophet, peace be upon him, encourages us to plant, even at the point when the Hour of Doom is about to strike, is a date tree, which does not start to yield its fruit in the normal state of affairs for several years. However, this is very consistent with Islamic philosophy, which gives reward for every constructive action. When one has a choice between planting a small tree and leaving it to die, he should not hesitate for a single moment. Planting it is a constructive action, so it must be done. Moreover, that action signifies an attitude, which promotes life. Therefore, God rewards it.
The Prophet, peace be upon him, expresses his message in a particularly vivid manner. The Hadith shows a person who is trying hard to push back the hour of doom until he has finished planting the young tree. But why should he bother in the first place? After all, the end of human life on earth is only a few moments away. Who will benefit by that tree? The answer is that most probably no one will ever benefit by it. But the Prophet�s message serves to emphasize that one must do good work at every moment in one�s life and work stops when life has stopped, not a moment earlier. It is such an attitude, which builds civilizations. And it is this particular attitude which has made the Islamic civilization unique. It always looks at what is constructive and takes every measure to fulfil it. That is not to say that Islam does not allow its followers to enjoy their spare time. But the best enjoyment is the constructive one.
Although the Hadith speaks of the Hour of Doom, which signals the end of human life, and indeed all life on earth, it has a particular significance to every one. Human beings always tend to think that life will continue forever. After all, so many generations have passed and there is nothing peculiar to make our own generation unique. Therefore, it should not be expected that the Day of Judgement would come at the end of our lifetime.
Some of us may tend to think that this Hadith and similar ones have no particular significance to us. This is not true, because there is an individual Hour, as it were, for every single one of us. Let us remember the Hadith which states that �when a human being dies, all his actions come to an end except in one of three ways: a continuous act of charity, or a useful contribution to knowledge, or a dutiful child who prays for him.�
This is, then, the hour for every single one of us. At the point of death, if anyone of us has the time or the ability to do a good action, even though it may be of no benefit to himself or to his offspring, he should do it because he will then be earning a reward for it from God. That improves his lot in the Hereafter. For a Muslim, that is something worth working for, right to the last breath of one�s life. ~
source:ARAB NEWSALLAH S.W.T !GRANT ME THE SERENITY TO ACCEPT THE THINGS I CAN NOT CHANGE,
THE COURAGE TO CHANGE THE THINGS THAT I CAN
AND THE WISDOM TO KNOW THE DIFFERENCE (AMEEN)
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